What is in this article?:
- Riceland wins historic award in GM rice case against Bayer.
- Case stems from 2006 discovery of trace amounts of GM traits in several U.S. rice varieties.
- Damages awarded may be subject to cap -- Arkansas Supreme Court to decide.
The foot-dragging claims weren’t leveled just against Riceland and Bayer but also USDA -- APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) especially. Any comment?
“Everybody was disappointed that it took such a long time for USDA and APHIS to do their investigation. … Some may question whether the government is the best vehicle to do an investigation like this, whether they have enough resources to actually do the thorough type of investigation needed.
“From the litigation process that has been going on for four years, we’ve discovered much, much more about Bayer than came out through the USDA investigation. There were probably 50 to 75 depositions of Bayer employees, the production of around three million to four million documents from Bayer.
“Not to cast any aspersions on the USDA, but they don’t have the manpower, resources or time to get into all of that. I think that’s why you’ve seen the USDA take no enforcement action against Bayer. They did note in the USDA report that there were records that weren’t available to the USDA, that there were records that hadn’t been kept by the main parties. There were maps that weren’t ever recorded or kept that would show exactly where some of the field trials were located, especially in relation to where foundation seed development (was done). USDA noted the limitations in their investigation. In fact, they issued a second report that said lessons were learned from their investigation where they realized their limitations and maybe things needed to be changed, new rules implemented.
“Bottom line: the litigation has ended up uncovering a lot of things that never were addressed in the USDA report. That’s why you’re now seeing every trial result is against Bayer.”
Only the cases heard in federal court haven’t had punitive damages?
What about the lead-up to the trial? Did y’all have settlement talks with Bayer? Was anything ever on the table?
“We did. But it didn’t go anywhere and wasn’t ever a viable option. Bayer took the position they’ve taken in almost of these (cases): ‘we’re going to try these cases and make you prove us wrong in court.’ That’s been their attitude.
“The only problem with that attitude is they’ve lost every case.”